January 14 — All-Star Announcement & Matthews’ Record Numbers

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

VEGAS BOUND: Alex Ovechkin, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon, and Connor McDavid went wire-to-wire in the NHL All-Star Game vote for team captains. Ovechkin will be the seasoned veteran, appearing in his eighth All-Star Game, while 18 players will be making their first appearance as the NHL announced the rest of the rosters last night. Fans can still vote for the “Last Man In” through Monday, rounding out the roster for each division.

AMERICAN ANNOUNCEMENT: Yesterday, USA Hockey released its 2022 Olympic men’s roster featuring 15 players still at the college ranks. All 25 players featured on the roster came up through the NCAA, with five players selected from this year’s World Junior Championship team.

STAAL-ING FOR TIME: Eric Staal, a 37-year-old free agent center, signed a professional tryout (PTO) contract with the Iowa Wild of the AHL on Thursday with the hope that Team Canada will come calling for the Olympics. Staal helped Canada win gold in Vancouver in 2010 and still “has the itch” should any NHL team want to sign him before the Beijing Games. 

MAKING HER-STORY ON THE BENCH: Aisha Visram, head trainer for the Ontario Reign in the AHL, made history as the first woman to serve in any capacity behind an NHL bench last night. According to the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society and Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers (PHATS/SPHEM), Visram made history after three members of the Los Angeles Kings’ training staff were out due to COVID protocols.

EASY AS 1-2-3: Speaking of the Kings, Los Angeles scored three goals in 1:23 to put away the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-2. It was one of 11 games across the NHL on a schedule-packed Thursday, as the nightly storylines included brother love, Tuukka Rask back in Boston, multiple shutouts, and Vince Dunn and Luke Schenn returning to accolades.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

The Incredible Korpisalo

Nationwide Arena, Jan. 8, 2022, the New Jersey Devils were on a power play as the second period was quickly winding down. Jack Hughes moved into the slot, faked a shot, and alertly moved the puck to Nico Hischier, who appeared to have an open net. However, Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made an incredible glove save to keep the score even as the teams entered the second intermission. Columbus went on to win by a score of 4-3. 

A Family Affair

At the Philadelphia Flyers’ morning practice on Thursday, Kevin Hayes and his nephew Beau spent some time together on the ice. Hayes lost his brother, Jimmy, on Aug. 23, 2021, and has been vocal about how much support his family has received, especially mentioning Brad Marchand, who has played street hockey with Beau and has spent time with the family in Dorchester.

History in Detroit

Daniella Bruce made history on Saturday, becoming the first woman featured on a Red Wings’ broadcast as Ken Kal’s color analyst. Wings analyst Paul Woods was unavailable due to COVID-19, so Bruce filled in on the air. For the past five seasons, she has served as a digital reporter and producer for Red Wings TV, including hosting Game Day Live, the in-venue show at LCA, and The Forecheck and The Word on Woodward digital streaming shows. Congrats on a job well done, Daniella! 

By The Numbers – Auston Matthews’ Goal Streak

On Wednesday night, Auston Matthews scored in his ninth straight game as a visiting player, breaking the Toronto Maple Leafs’ franchise record for most consecutive road games with a goal. The Scottsdale-born Matthews finally broke through in his return to the state he grew up in, finding the back of the net 14 seconds into the third period of the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

That broke a four-way tie with Babe Dye (1920-21), Frank Mahovlich (1960-61), and Daniel Marois (1989-90), who all scored a goal in eight road games in a row for Toronto. Let’s dive into some numbers surrounding the 24-year-old superstar’s team-record streak.

Matthews and his regrown mustache set a franchise record Wednesday night in Arizona (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

42 – Number of total shots taken during the nine-game road goal streak. Matthews’ lowest single-game shot tally was on Nov. 26 in San Jose, with two against the Sharks. On the high side, he has attempted eight shots in a game twice during the span (Dec. 4 at Minnesota & Jan. 8 at Colorado).

11 – Total goals Matthews has scored during those nine games. He had a two-goal night on Dec. 14 in Anaheim and on Jan. 8 in Colorado.

5-2-2 – Maple Leafs’ record during the run. Five of the nine games have had goal margins of three, but the last three contests have resulted in one-goal results. Overall, Toronto has a record of 23-9-3, third-best in the Atlantic Division.

24 – Goals Matthews has so far this season, tied for the second-most in the NHL with Alex Ovechkin (Leon Draisaitl has 26). It’s also the number of games—out of 32—in which he has registered at least one point. Oh, and it’s his age!

16 – NHL record for most consecutive games with a goal. Punch Broadbent, an Ottawa Senators forward, scored in 16 straight games during the 1921-22 season.

5 – Number of Maple Leafs’ road games during the streak postponed due to COVID-19. Toronto also had three home games canceled since Matthews started his record-breaking run.

51 – Calendar days since the streak started (Nov. 24 in L.A.). It will reach at least 52 days, as Matthews looks to extend it when his Maple Leafs take on the Blues Saturday night in St. Louis.

All-Star Announcements: Where the NHL Got It Wrong

Love it or hate it, the NHL’s structurally flawed All-Star Game offers an in-season change of pace in a year that will no longer feature an Olympic break. Furthermore, the roster announcement opens the door to spirited debate, even if the mandate to have every NHL team represented when each division is only permitted 11 total players is ludicrous.

With last night’s roster announcement, there is no shortage of notable omissions (sorry, Sidney Crosby and Aleksander Barkov) and largely undeserved, rules-influenced inclusions (Clayton Keller? Adam Pelech?). Keeping in mind that—insert eye roll emoji—every team must include representation, here is where the NHL got it wrong and who should be Las Vegas-bound instead:

Anaheim Ducks: Troy Terry or Trevor Zegras > John Gibson

Full credit goes to John Gibson for having another strong season between the pipes. But for a league trying to promote their product and capitalize on the exposure that ESPN and ABC can offer, wouldn’t an exciting, young, buzz-worthy star make sense here, especially in a 3-on-3 format? “Last Man In” candidate Troy Terry or Trevor “assist of the season” Zegras would do the trick.

Boston Bruins: Brad Marchand > Patrice Bergeron

Among the league’s top 10 scoring leaders, it’s a little strange to see Colorado’s Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen missing, but ultimately understandable given the presence of Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar. Less understandable is the absence of Brad Marchand. Sure, he probably doesn’t have many fans in the league offices, but is the All-Star Game really the place for the sturdy, two-way play of Patrice Bergeron?? Sorry, Patrice!

New York Islanders: ??? > Adam Pelech

No thrilling 3-on-3 All-Star exhibition would be complete without a goal-less stay-at-home defenseman! I know what you’re going to say, and you’re right—there are no other deserving candidates on the Island—so why do we have to select any at all?? You could make arguments for Tyler Toffoli over Nick Suzuki (Montreal) or Shayne Gostisbehere over Keller (Arizona). But really, why should any of them be in when guys like Kadri and Steven Stamkos are out?

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule